Craig Wright is still hanging on to a lifeline for now. The latest in the list of lifelines came in a ruling from United States District Judge Beth Bloom. Yesterday, she ruled against a motion for the state of David Kleiman to sanction Wright immediately.
The Kleiman Estate Goes for the Kill
Wright, who claims to be Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, has been in a legal battle with the estate of the late Kleiman – led by his older brother, Ira. This tussle has been on for the better part of a decade now. The Kleiman estate claimed that Wright and David had worked while the latter was alive, and had built a stash of over 1.1 million BTC – worth about $9.2 billion today.
However, when David died, Wright had approached his family and asked for his Bitcoins in exchange for cash. While they delivered their end of the bargain, Wright didn’t. The family since sued him for the money, although Wright has denied that he and Kleiman worked on mining Bitcoin.
The original court case was filed in February 2018. Now, it is set to go to trial on July 6. So far, Wright has made several infractions in the case. For one, he claimed that the Bitcoins in contention were in the Lotus Fund – a trust fund that he allegedly created in 20121. However, he has failed to provide the private keys to the fund to allow the court to access its content.
Last month, a message that was signed by 145 wallets containing Bitcoin mined in its early years labeled Wright a “liar and a fraud.” Additional research found that the addresses were part of the thousands that Wright had claimed in his legal case.
Given his record of lying, the message put his efforts in jeopardy. The Kleiman estate also seized the opportunity, filing a notice of supplementary evidence to support their motion to sanction him instead of going to court. The lawyers claimed that Wright Wright “committed perjury, produced forgeries, and engaged in judicial abuse.”
Wright’s Autism Defense Checks Out
Wright eventually filed a motion of his own, where he claimed to have been diagnosed with autism. He requested to have the clinical psychologist who diagnosed him to appear as an expert witness, explaining that the court should consider his “medical condition” when assessing the inconsistent statements that he had made so far.
The excuse appears to have worked. Under the judge’s ruling, Wright’s autism defense is clear, and the case can proceed. The judge added that the psychologist would need to show testimony indicating Wright’s condition and how it “could be incorrectly perceived as having provided untruthful testimony,” such as providing a false list of Bitcoin addresses.
The judge did concede that the Kleiman team had raised allegations of some unsettling issues over Wright’s behavior. However, she still believed that all claims “are best suited for a jury to make as fact finder at trial.” Thus, there wasn’t enough of a reason to cause the court to impose sanctions.